The Department of Agriculture announced it will revisit the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef, a move drawing praise from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
NCBA President Craig Uden says the updates to the beef standards will improve accuracy by basing carcass quality grades on the most current scientific data available. Following a petition led by NCBA, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced that dental study documentation of actual age will now be used as additional methods for classifying maturity of carcasses.
Prior to the change, some cattle were incorrectly deemed ineligible for USDA quality grades because of limitations in the process used to assess their age. A beef industry working group composed of representatives from the cow-calf, feeder and packer segments conservatively estimated that incorrect classification of carcasses cost the industry nearly $60 million annually.